CAIRO: Alleged militant jihadist Adel Habara, 40, has denied he committed a 2013 terrorist attack, and that he attempted to escape from prison in June, according to an interview published Friday by Youm7.
Habara’s case goes back to August 2013, when militants in Rafah in North Sinai forced 25 young conscripts out of microbuses heading back to their hometowns and shot them dead.
“This [Judge] Mohamed Sherin [Fahmy] is an infidel, and he knows quite well that I am innocent. But he is implementing his masters’ instructions. Everything that is happening in this trial is executed by Sherin and his aides,” Habara told Youm7.
Youm7 interviewed Habara from behind bars during a court break on Oct. 14. After the break, Fahmy referred the files of Habara and six other defendants to Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam for his ceremonial and non-binding opinion on whether death sentences in the case are appropriate. The court set Dec. 6 to pronounce a judgment against the seven main defendants and 28 codefendants. The judgment will be open for appeal.
Fahmy has already sentenced Habara to seven years in prison in five separate sentences throughout the trial for insulting the judiciary. Habara has called Fahmy a “heretic, apostate, and unjust,” and threatened to sever his neck, according to Youm7.
Habara told Youm7 he believes militants are “entitled” to kill military and police officers because the “infidel regime” would not be able to rule without them.
Although Habara admitted to previously carrying out operations against the military and police, he refused to elaborate on details.
Habara, who was arrested in late August 2013, was previously sentenced to death in absentia for his alleged implication in bombings at the Dahab and Taba resorts in the Sinai in 2004 and 2006. Forty-two people were killed in the attacks.
In June, Egyptian media reported that Habara attempted to escape while being transferred from the court to prison, and that an officer who colluded in the failed attempt was arrested.
“I did not try to run away. If I did, no one would be able to follow me,” Habara told Youm7.
Habara also described the authorities’ claims that they had eliminated the majority of militants in the Sinai as “lies.” He said militants are “fine and increasing.”
“The Islamic State will inevitably come to Egypt, but not now,” he added.
Despite all his braggadocio, Habara still insisted he was innocent of the crimes and the way he has been personified.
“I want everyone to know that I am not the image that some are promoting about me: that I am a devil killing innocents. I would like to affirm that I am innocent of the blood of those who were killed.”
Additional reporting by Ahmed Hosni.